Getting IT development to support production - a people problem

A LinkedIn discussion which I have now lost (LinkedIn having one of the worst search capabilities on the planet) asked about how to get Development to provide Level 3 support to Production incidents. It's a people problem.

The issue is almost always a cultural one. The vendors will want to sell you a tool fix, and the ITIL wonks will want to sell you a process fix. But neither in isolation is likely to help.

The issue must be addressed directly at the people level. The gap between Development/Solutions and Operations/Delivery is usually the biggest dissociation or tribal rift in any IT organisation. Either

(a) Culture: work on improving teaming between them and getting dev to have some line-of-sight to the user, i.e. to care, or

(b) Motivation: get proper support of Prod written into the bonused KPIs of someone sufficiently senior in Dev or

(c) Organisation: don't give fixes to Dev, have an operational support team for the application and do it yourselves.

Otherwise you'll be jumping up and down foaming at the mouth and waiving OLAs and beating them up with KPIs and they won't give a sh*t. You have a people problem.


Getting IT development to support production - a people problem


Application development is a huge industry, IT development is in as much a research phase as it is under development. Nice discussion....thanks and keep it up.

Need of closer co-operation between Development and Operations

The start-up of this fundamental intervention is about Level 3 Support from Development to Production incidents, but then it is raised the key issue of the key gap existing between the two Organisations and this is not limited to Level 3 Support. In my view the latter could be better solved if the global gap among the two groups is progressively closed. This is "a people and cultural problem", theme considered very important from the Skeptic, and this is true, but only partially according to me. Actually it is also an Organisational and Management problem and I would dare also an IT Governance problem. The two Groups have very different culture, mentality and missions, in addition very often they appear not estimating each-other. Therefore The Level 3 support from Development expert, in a well organised Service Desk, woul be only a detail, rather isolated and fragmented if we take into consideration the overall relationships. The Service Managers and also the CIOs - with the encouragement of the Board - should first operate to get a continuous positive collaboration between the two groups, by acting on their education and culture/mentality evolution, but also by imposing systematic contacts between them, not only at the Service Desk level, but starting in the phase of new Application specifications analysis (and new Applications Releases), e.g. with the Operations/Infrastructure representatives reporting the measures of Applications performances, at the System Test level and in the Deployment phase. Too often the Development professionals consider their involvement completed after the System Test and the initial Deployment and they do not invite the Operations people in the meeting of analysis and discussions of the new Applications/Releases. If and when the above will be implemented, the Level 3 support from the Development experts will work in a much more natural way and the Application Management will be done in a "more mature" way (yes, to this organisation pattern it should be applied also the measurement of the progressive Maturity Levels of the two Organisations).

If would just be 3rd Level Support it would be heaven

Getting 3rd Level support sometimes may be difficult, but it is definatly not the key gap between development and production. And solving this requires getting the culture right (people to feel responsible and work as a team), get the management right (setting targets as Rob already pointed out) and getting the organisation right (production and development should NOT be fully seperated organisations).

You should have your Infrastructure people (that either are the thin layer above outsourced services or do things themselves) that develops, transforms, maintains and operates the infrastructure, you should have your application or services organisation that develops, transforms, maintains and operates the application or service layer. Making your application & services as infrastructure agnostic as possible is good policy anyway (allows you to swap around and maybe do some funny cloud stuff more easily).

The interface between infrastructure and applications can be defined in a precise way and measured properly. The interface between production and development is a very complex one that is hard to steer, so move them closer together organisational wise.

And still you will find the odd production guy that does not understand what the service is all about and the odd developer that firmly believes that if the source code compiles without warnings his job is done. But well, now you have the management in place to either educate them, organise around them if you really need them or asking them to provide their valuable services somewhere else.


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